Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sarah J. McNeal, New Contributor

This is my first blog on Sweethearts of the West and so I’d like to introduce myself to you and tell you a little about myself.
My name is Sarah J. McNeal. I write in several genres including historical western romance, contemporary, and fantasy and sometimes with a combination of paranormal and time travel. 

I would love to go back in time and experience history in the making, but the scientific community insists it cannot be done. Bummer. I don’t believe in witches and goblins but I sure do believe that there are evil people in this world and I think that’s close enough. I love ghost stories and I like to write them into my stories. I included ghosts in Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride, The Violin, Gifts From the Afterlife and my most recent release, Heart Song. Two of my time travel stories still in contract are Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride and The Violin.

All of my books are romances but I didn’t start out that way. I used to write only science fiction and fantasy/paranormals, straight up with no chaser. My creative writing instructor suggested that I include a touch of romance and, when I did, I sold five short stories to magazines. Well, I certainly knew then what readers wanted and, I have to say, I thoroughly enjoy writing romance.

I have spent a career as an RN, 21 years in coronary care and the last 17 years in the ER. I admit it was stressful and sometimes not so rewarding, but I did love the times when I felt I’d helped someone and made a difference in patients’ lives—sometimes quite literally.  By the end of my career, 3 years ago, I was happy to retire and do what I had always longed to do, devote my time to writing.

My second love is music. After playing the flute for a few years in grade school, I switched to violin when my dad gave me his brother’s violin. It inspired me to write the book, The Violin, because of my Uncle John’s tragic death. I thought he deserved a life so I gave him one. I also play the guitar. (Who didn’t back in those “hootenanny” days?) My dad and I used to play our harmonicas together. Sometimes we just made up our own tunes. I loved doing that with him. Later, I learned to play the bagpipes and, for a while, aspired to play in the Loch Norman Pipe Band—but apparently, not enough to practice every single day. I taught my great niece to play the violin and she taught me to play the recorder. We like to play our instruments together and confound our relatives with our expertise. Well, we like to think so anyway. Most of my stories include musical instruments of some kind or another.

The following are my books presently in contract:

The Violin published by Publishing by Rebecca Vickery:
1927 historical/time travel/paranormal
Loneliness...Mystery...A step through time
Genevieve dreams of him almost every night and has for most of her lonely life. Intrigued, she buys his violin and finds the remnants of his life and the mystery of his death in 1927 revealed within its case. Intrigued, she makes a decision, one that will change her life forever. 
Buy links: (available in digital and paperback)

Rebecca Vickery Publishing
Create Space

Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride published by Western Trail Blazers: (digital and paperback)
1910 historical western/time travel/paranormal
A haunted house, a trunk and a date with destiny.
Lola Barton discovers a warp in time in an old trunk when she falls into 1910. She finds herself married to Joseph Wilding, a stranger shadowed by secrets. Mistaken for Callie McGraw, a thief and a woman of ill repute, Lola finds her life is threatened by a scoundrel. Joe stands between her and certain death. With danger threatening all around and secrets keeping them apart, can Joe and Lola find their destiny together? Or will time and circumstance forever divide them?
Buy links:
 Western Trail Blazer Novels
Lulu Book Store
Barnes & Noble,%201&if=N&cm_mmc=Goodreads-_-k117601-_-j12871747k117601-_-Primary

For Love of Banjo published by Western Trail Blazers
WWI historical western/sequel to Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride
Deceit stands between Banjo Wilding’s love for Maggie O’Leary and his search for the father he never knew.
Banjo Wilding wears a borrowed name and bears the scars and reputation of a lurid past.  To earn the right to ask for Margaret O’Leary’s hand, he must find his father and make something of himself.
Margaret O’Leary has loved Banjo since she was ten years old but standing between her and Banjo is pride, Banjo’s mysterious father and the Great War.
Will either of them find happiness?     
BUY LINKS (digital and paperback)
Lulu :
Monkey Bars :

Heart Song published by Publishing at Rebecca Vickery
Contemporary/paranormal short story
My new release for 99 cents
Facing death might change Gideon’s life.
Gideon thought he had the perfect life as a musician with a beautiful model as his girlfriend, until he was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Ashamed and afraid he may die, Gideon hits bottom when his girlfriend dumps him for a real man.

Hope comes in the form of his father’s ghost and a person he has just met. Can he beat the odds and survive? And if he does, can he ever find happiness again?
Buy link

Gifts From The Afterlife published by Victory Tales Press in the 2011 Christmas Collection
Contemporary/Paranormal/Holiday short story
How dark must it get before Lydia sees the light?
Lydia Sinclair’s life has run off the rails.  She has lost everyone she loves and Christmas has lost its meaning.  As Christmas approaches, Lydia wants to go to sleep and never wake up again.  Perhaps an angel, some ghosts and a childhood sweetheart can convince her that life is worth living again.  Can Lydia let go of what once was, renew her joy in Christmas and find the promise of hope for her future?  
Buy links (digital and paperback)
Smashwords Ebook
Lulu Ebook
Barns and Noble

Here are the places where you can find me:

Moonlight Romance Authors:
Sarah’s Provocative Ponderings:
My Amazon Author’s Page: 
PbRBWT Author Page:
Once Upon a Word
And right here at Sweethearts of the West


  1. I am so happy to be a monthly contributor to Sweethearts Of The West. It is such an honor.

  2. Nothing like a good ghost story, Sarah. Keep 'em coming!

  3. Hey Miriam! Thank you for coming by. I love ghost stories, too. I like to write 'em and I like to read 'em. Just can't get enough ghosts. LOL

  4. Welcome, Sarah--and great introduction for us here at Sweethearts to get to know you. You're a natural-born sweetheart, so it's appropriate you're one of us. We're not perfect, but every one of us tries to be a sweetheart.

    Your western historicals romances--especially For Love of Banjor--are filled with passion and action. Well done!

  5. ...uh, that would be Banjo. Sorry.

  6. Welcome, Sarah! You don't look old enough to have had all that experience. I'm sure you were a wonderful RN because you seem so ompassionate. Loved learning more about you.

  7. Hi Sarah. I recognize several of the ladies you have joined -- you are in good company. I wish you every success with your blog ... and your novels and stories. I think you are a fantastic writer with a great imagination. I am still looking forward to our review exchange.

  8. Thank you so much, Celia, for all your kindness and those lovely compliments. I'm reading Addie and the Gunslinger right now. It's off to a great start.

  9. Thank you, Caroline, for your very warm welcome. I think this picture of me was taken by my niece about 5 years ago. Thanks for the nice compliment. I started nursing when I was twenty. I spent a few years checking out other places to live and work around the country then went back to school to finish my degree and went into critical care.

  10. Hey James. I'm so glad to see you here. Thank you for all those compliments about me and my work.
    What I would really like to do is send you some interview questions and post that. I'll get that to you this weekend.
    Thank you once again for dropping by.

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. Best wishes to you, Sarah J, and to all the Sweethearts of the West--a great group of lovely and talented ladies : )

  13. Sarah,
    WELCOME my dear friend! I'm so glad you joined the SWEETHEARTS crew! Glad you sent out a reminder today and woke me up, too--LOL I love your books, and the premise you had for Harmonica Joe was really just awesome as all get out. I always wanted to be a nurse, but felt I couldn't do the math part of it. My parents were not very encouraging either, so I never did it and have regretted it! It does sound like what you were doing was very stressful--not sure I could have handled a stressful nursing job like that, either. LOLLOL Great post today, and I'm so glad you're part of our group here! I still want to learn to play the bagpipes!!!!!

  14. Welcome to the Sweethearts!
    It's nice to get to meet the other authors here.

  15. Hi Sarah,

    hanks for your post. I write contemporary gothic romance, so my curiosity is always piqued when I see the word "ghost" in relation to romance. Can't wait to read yours.

    Anna T.S.

  16. Hi Sarah. I learned two new things about you today--your nursing career(s) and your musical talent. I should have suspected the latter from the topis of many of your books. I wish you continued success with all of your books.

  17. Pardon my type. That is "topic." Topis? I keep making up all these new words.

  18. Not again? You knew I meant to say typo, didn't you?
    A thousand pardons.

  19. Virginia, thank you so much for coming by. You're always so supportive and I appreciate you.

  20. Cheryl, I always thought the chemistry would hold me back--so I took it first. I figured, if I couldn't pass chemistry, then it was a sign that I needed to transfer to Liberal Arts and forget about getting that nursing degree. LOL
    Thank you for your warm welcome and for your lovely words about Harmonica Joe. You are such a dear and loyal friend.

  21. Hey Paty. I hope we get to know each other more as time goes by. Thank you for the welcome.

  22. Anna, I'd love to know some of the titles of your gothic novels. Ghosts always get my arrention. Thank you for coming by today.

  23. Linda, not to worry, I'm like the queen of typos. I'm over even trying to correct them any more. LOL
    I must have musical instruments in the back of my mind all the time because I have written only a few short stories that have no musical instrument in them.
    I'm glad I had some surprises to relate so I won't seem so boring.
    I read Maid of the Midlands and thought it was a wonderful story. Thank you so much for dropping by today.

  24. Love your tales, Sarah. What a nice introduction here. You're so talented. You pen wonderful stories and you can play you can play so many instruments. Bagpipes-- I'm impressed.

    I love paranormal tales-- ghost stories are one of my favorites.

  25. So nice to learn more about you, Sarah. I LOVE a good ghost story.

  26. Hi, Sarah,
    I loved hearing about where your ideas for stories come from. That personal experience adds the passion that shines through.

  27. Karen, thank you for coming. Now I have to say, you are the top of the line when it comes to paranormal. I've read a bunch of yours and loved the Fallen Angel series so far. I hope you put out more of them some day soon--like Gideon's story.
    Bagpipes are the hardest instrument I ever learned to play. My first bagpipe instructor also owned a Scottish Shop. He wouldn't let anyone (including my parents) purchased a bagpipe until the student could play 7 bagpipe tunes perfectly from memory. The reason for his decision was that, a piper can't breathe and keep their arm up and down on the bag if they have to concentrate on the tune. So I had to learn those dang tunes until I could play them automatically. Then it got even harder. LOL
    I appreciate your kindness in dropping by and commenting, Karen.

  28. Jenny, I love a good ghost story too. I dig around the loops in search of my next ghostly read. It was so nice of you to come by and comment. Thank you.

  29. Lisa, ya know, I was burning to write a story about my Uncle John years before I wrote The Violin. My only regret is that my dad died before I wrote it so he never got to read his brother's story. I often wonder if he would have liked it and if I created John's character close to the real John.
    Thank you so much for coming by and leaving a comment, Lisa. I really appreciate it.

  30. Sarah, congrats on being added to this blog! I don't visit many blogs these days but I do still keep winding up here. ;-)

  31. LK, like you, I don't always have the time to visit a lot of blogs but I do love to come here. I have read some great old west articles here that were so interesting. I hope that my future articles will measure up to the standards of Sweethearts of the West authors.
    Thank you so very much for your comment.

  32. Love having you with us, Sarah. You certainly have a lot of interesting stories posted. I live next to a town that has ghosts - some of which I have encountered. I love a ghost story...

  33. Paisley, what is the ghost town you live near? Are you going to post a blog about your encounters? 'Cause I want to hear about 'em. See. I'm a total ghost-aholic.
    Thank you so much for dropping by and for your warm welcome.

  34. Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner, Sarah, but my gmail account locked on me until now. I live near Placerville, CA where the 1849 gold rush happened. I have been sharing about it for a while now, but doesn't mean I can again. My story just released today actually is in Placerville, but I call it Paradise Pines in my series.


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